How-To: Build a Small Chest of Drawers




Introduction: How-To: Build a Small Chest of Drawers

About: My name is Zack, I'm a full time craftsman. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love full time--turning ideas into reality. I specialize in commissioned projects, including furniture, sculpture, …

So a while back I decided I needed a chest to keep my more delicate tools, as well to aid in the general organization of the shop. Being as that I was a complete novice to this sort of cabinetry I decided to take the opportunity to explore with some design and construction techniques.

There are a few details I left out in order to keep the post succinct--If you are curious, I recommend watching the short video I made covering the construction.

If you'd like to see more projects from me, please subscribe to my YouTube channel ZH Fabrications and check out my website:

Thanks for looking!

Step 1: Cutting the Panels

The first step was to cut out the panels for the carcass. I used 3/4" maple plywood.

Step 2: Cutting the Panels to Width

Rule of keeping thumbs: Never cut a board wider than it is long on the table saw, it can bind and cause kick back. Here I'm using a cordless circular saw to crosscut the back to length.

Tools pictured: DeWalt 20V cordless circular saw.

Step 3: Assemble the Carcass

Kreg pocket hole jig. I'm using the coarse fasteners for 1.5" material.

Tools Pictured: Kreg K4MS Pocket hole system

Step 4: Install the Rails

Installing the rails, using a spacer block on both sides to keep them level. The rails add support to the carcass and provide a surface for the maple veneer between the drawer fronts.

Tools Pictured: DeWalt 20v Drill

Step 5: Cutting the Legs

I used 3/4" Mahogany for the legs, but I had to laminate two pieces together to get the thickness I needed.

Tools pictured: DeWalt miter saw.

Step 6: Cutting the Taper in the Legs

With the two pieces of 3/4" mahogany glued together, I cut the taper in the legs with a Rockwell Bandsaw.

Step 7: Attaching the Legs to the Carcass

After cutting a 3/4" recess in the legs on the table saw, I attached the legs to the carcass. Note the carcass is upside down as the feet protrude slightly beyond the bottom.

Step 8: Assembling the Drawers

I made the drawers from 3/4" thick supreme pine. Again, these were assembled using pocket screws, which are quick, strong, and simple when wood movement is not an issue.

Tools pictured: DeWalt 20v drill

Step 9: More Pocket Screws

I cut a dado in the bottom of the drawer frame on my table saw to accept the drawer bottom. The drawer bottom is 1/4" pre-finished hardboard.

Tools pictured: DeWalt 20v drill

Step 10: Instal the Drawer Slides

Installing the drawer slides, again, I find the best method is to use a spacer block in order to achieve equal spacing. In this build I am using Blum full extension drawer slides.

Note: I've found the slides can be purchased much cheaper at a local cabinet shop, or big box store than online.

Step 11: Install the Drawer Fronts

So I skipped a couple of repetitive steps here. This picture shows the carcass with the drawer fronts installed. If you would like to see the process, it is included in the video :)

Step 12: Make the Drawer Pulls

I made these drawer pulls out of 3/4" mahogany. I then routed the recess, and installed some threaded brass inserts.

Step 13: The Top

Here I am using a hand plane to flatten the top, which is made of 3/4" soft maple, which I glued up.

Tools Pictured: Wood River 4-1/2" plane

Step 14: Put Your Stuff in It!

All finished!

This was a really fun build and I really learned a lot in the process. It was actually much simpler than I had expected. My advice is as long as you have it planned out well before you begin, it should be fairly straightforward.

Thanks for watching guys! I look forward to your questions and comments.


ZH Fabrications

Tools & Materials used:

DeWalt 20V cordless circular saw

DeWalt 20V Drill

DeWalt miter saw

DeWalt plunge/fixed base router

Kreg K4MS Pocket hole system

Wood River #4-1/2 bench plane

Rockwell Bandsaw

Delta Unisaw

Boiled Linseed Oil

3/4" Mahogany
3/4" Maple plywood
3/4" Soft maple
Blum full extension drawer slides

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    Question 3 years ago on Introduction

    Dear Zack.

    I just saw your video on building a chest of drawers very nice work.I have 3 questions first of all when using spacers what determines the height or the distance between each one.Second question relates to the first one when installing draw rails again the distance question springs to mind.Finally can you give me an example using figures much appreciated.


    4 years ago

    You put the pocket holes on the wrong side of the drawers. :)
    But nice job anyway!


    6 years ago

    Very nice little cabinet